FBI team on way to India to help probe Mumbai terror attacks

November 30th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 30 (IANS) A team of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is reported to be on way to India to help in the investigation of Mumbai terror attacks as President George Bush pledged India full support in its hour of crisis.The FBI, which is charged with tracking international and domestic terrorists to spies on US, has sent a team of about half a dozen investigators to India, the Washington Post said.

The FBI maintains a permanent office at the US embassy in New Delhi, and the agents will operate as part of the existing “country team.” But it was not clear the extent to which the Indians would allow the US agents to participate, the daily said citing government sources.

Another media report said officials were working out the final details with Indian diplomats for the departure of an FBI team. A second group of investigators was on alert to join the first team if necessary.

“The FBI continues to monitor the situation in Mumbai and the Counterterrorism Division is reviewing all of the information and intelligence available,” bureau spokesman Richard Kolko was quoted as saying.

The FBI team was sent to India as Bush Saturday pledged “the full support of the United States as India investigates these attacks, brings the guilty to justice and sustains its democratic way of life.”

Before returning to Washington Saturday from his Camp David presidential retreat, Bush held an hour-long video-teleconference Saturday regarding the Mumbai terror attacks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador to India David Mulford, US Consul General Paul Folmsbee in Mumbai, and several others on the national security team.

Meanwhile, in a report from Berlin, the Washington Post said Pakistani militant groups had became the focus of the investigation into the attacks in Mumbai.

Evidence collected by police in Mumbai, along with intelligence gathered by US and British officials, has led investigators to concentrate their focus on Islamist militants in Pakistan, it said

The daily cited a US counter-terrorism official as saying additional evidence has emerged in the past 24 hours that points toward a Kashmiri connection. “Some of what has been learned so far does fall in that direction,” the official said, declining to offer specifics.

“We have to be careful here,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.”When you posit a Kashmiri connection that puts Pakistan on the table. That is huge, enormous, but what does it mean? It can be anything from people who were [initially] in Pakistan, to maybe people who used to be associated with someone in the Pakistani government, to any gradation you could find.”

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